When it's over, all the unpleasantness is worth it. Here is the storyline, one victim (Michael Sheen) accused of being a terrorist; one interrogator (Samuel L. Jackson) willing to use any means to get answers; one FBI agent (Carrie-Anne Moss) who still believes in human rights; and three nuclear weapons ready to detonate. Unthinkable examines the fine line between right and wrong, on the way the government interrogates terrorists. It's not only about the methods, but also the ethics involved. In many ways, this film is a psychological thriller, in that torture is played out in the mind. The use of innocents to force an end result is both mentally violent as well as physically violent. The violence inflicted on the victim includes blood, but surprisingly, very little is shown, but less can be more, as some of the violence is implied. Watching, I knew exactly what was being done, and not seeing it was just as effective, if not more effective, than having seen the actual act. For example, there are scenes that involve removing body parts (and I won't say what parts). I know it was going to happen at any second, and when it does, the scene is edited so that you only see the reaction from the victim, which is very effective in prompting graphic images from my own imagination. Some scenes of violence were unexpected, and that's a bonus for this film, because it offered a greater level of uncertainty as to just what is considered "unthinkable" when it comes to torture, when it comes to getting answers. I found this film intriguing and stimulating, prompting me to question its contents long after the credits roll. It's not the violence that makes this film work, but how the violence affects the characters. Solid performances from Jackson and Moss, played out with intensity and realism. Sheen was amazing. His ability to make me care and despise him all in one breath makes him a force to be reckoned with.
My rating: 4 out of 5
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